As I mentioned, sort of, I got some V:TES in while visiting family. Where our general area is doing fairly well (again), the D.C. area has lost critical mass with the core group. Tis a shame in many ways. We are talking about the hood of the reigning NA Champion, after all.
Anyway, with my presence, four old timers got together. I made the conscious decision not to take decks, as I wasn’t checking any bags and I wasn’t that interested in my decks, though I would have been a bit more interested in lending out than playing any of them.
So, I borrowed three decks.
Colin (Dom/For) -> Pete (Shattering Crescendo 5/6) -> Ian (Stanislava Great Beast) -> Matt (Death Star)
I had almost forgotten what Colin’s deck did as it had so little game against predator and prey. He did bring out a Prince and some weenie bleeders. Pete took a while before starting to shatter them into oblivion. Matt worked on creating dudes.
I. I had problems assembling my pieces. Pete dropping Anarch Troublemaker early meant I wanted to time getting Soul Gem out on the turn I nuked for the Great Beast. Also, I had little incentive to Clan Impersonate to Baali as my 4 votes slowed Matt down, forcing him to build Alamut counters to ensure passage of votes.
So, I wasn’t bothered by Vast Wealth getting Suddened. I drew Soul Gem and Vast Wealth. I discarded Clan Impersonations as I always had plenty. I kept bleeding for three rather than doing my combo. The only cards I was really missing were Freaks/Marches to do all my thang in the same turn. I did play a Soul Gem, which got nuked by Troublemaker, but it hardly mattered as I dropped Vast Wealth shortly afterwards and promptly drew another Soul Gem. The Parthenon let me flow my Abombwes, Villeins, Vast Wealths, and whatever.
Colin fell without seriously damaging Pete. The game was surprisingly balanced. Matt had more pool than I cared for, but Pete’s Crescendos were going to rip up his dudes. I did Beast. Colin played Matt’s position for a bit while Matt got pizza. This may have had some impact on the result due to difference in experience with the deck. My 6 bleed a turn booted Ass. Pete shattered the Great Beast into torpor. Diablerize my own Beast, vote to live (with Soul Gem), Force of Will bleed, Dare the Dawn to explode, Bleed with new Stanislava and Foreshadowing Destruction for the kill.
Pete (Grinder) -> Matt (Reanimated Corpse/Shambling Hordes) -> Colin (Trem) -> Ian (Demdemeh)
Not sure what the preferred name for the RC/SH deck is. Anyway, part of the point of borrowing decks was to play things I don’t end up playing. In the case of the first game, I just don’t like superstar vampire decks, so I avoid things like the all Stanislava crypt. In the case of this game, I had actually meant to build, for quite a while, a serious Demdemeh deck. I might have built one at some point, but obviously, it didn’t mean much to me.
At first, I overlooked the Smiling Jack in my opening hand. I dropped it first turn, the way it was meant to be played. I brought out Bobby Lemon to hold the fort while I worked on Demdemeh. I put out FBI Special Affairs Division which ended up being more of a threat to me than a benefit.
Colin had a reasonable game for a while. I blocked somebody with Demdemeh and ended up in torpor, being rescued by Lithrac as Matt struggled to find The Baron. What he didn’t do, what nobody did for a while, was seriously try to remove Smiling Jack. By the time people started getting serious about it, I could block and it got up to 5 counters, which was ripping up the table. I eventually let it go as I could see how easy it would be for Colin to get ousted if it hung around another turn. Matt had finally gotten The Baron out and seemed to be able to easily bleed Colin.
Pete had no game. I wasn’t sure how I could bleed with my deck, but Elephant Guardian elephanted before becoming an ally. Dragonbound was also out, which was creating hurt. Colin couldn’t survive bleeds and didn’t bounce and Pete couldn’t do anything, so we went to the endgame.
I kept putting out more allies, but then, so did Matt. I wasn’t clear how I was supposed to get bleeds through, and I didn’t have nearly enough intercept to block stealthy bleeds. Matt had been away from the table when I played Ancestor Spirit on Demdemeh – a card I would not have in the deck due to the general inability to get zero stealth actions through. Matt bled me a lot for two, so I made my lunge. With Carlton on his side, he could have chumped Demdemeh but blocked an Elephant, and I Changelinged for the kill. I was dead next turn, so this was a faux victory. Mainly, we wanted to get on to game three.
Matt (Kenny 419) -> Pete (Saulot & Friend) -> Colin (!Nos) -> Ian (Blood Brother Shock Troops)
I got a really … really … good draw. I put out The Parthenon. I put two Menor in play. I had Fabrizia ready to Troops up and Jaggedy Andy for added humor. Colin Famed one of my Menor and promptly got Backstepped, Thrown Sewer Lidded, Target Vitalsed into not wanting to block future actions by my empty vampires.
Matt made Kennies and Bennies, which I quickly grew weary of as they could chump. Colin was wallish all game until his demise. Neighbor John supported Saulot, getting the Ivory Bow, though it meant nothing to at least two of us. I Shocked 2 Troops in play and plinked Matt’s guys with Horseshoes to prevent more Embraces. Eventually, I tap out bled/hunted every turn, with my two Troops running out of Horseshoes, never having my Famous Menor who was often empty go down, even though it likely would have helped me. Matt got out a bunch of 419s, but Pete had good pool. I torped Saulot. When he Sensed my Death, I Backstepped twice, Lid-Vitals. At some point, I Backstep-Lid-Vitals, press, Backstep-Lid-Vitals, press, Backstep-Lid Saulot.
In the end, I had two Troops with superior Potence, Jaggedy with superior Potence, Fabrizia with superior Potence, and four Menor (the two new ones didn’t have superior Potence) with some deck left, and Pete conceded.
We talked some about the problems with getting enough people together. I totally understand the difficulties, though, again, it’s challenging for me to relate to others who aren’t as invested in CCGs as I get.
I was a bit surprised to get an e-mail towards the end of last week about playing in Livermore last night. More V:TES – 4CL and house rule style.
Al (Aus/Cel guns) -> Bruce (Malk toolbox) -> Cort (Gangrel) -> Ian (1/2 Presence/Protean) -> Rich (Cel/Obf/Pre)
I Effectively Manage, put 1 on Bear Paw, 2 on Don Cruez, and 1 on Mirembe. Bear Paw comes out and learns to master Protean. Wynn pops up behind me. Prey brings out Renenet. Felicia, Victor Revell, and Lynn Thompson (no grouping rule for this group) for Al. Bruce gets Zebulon, Dancin’ Dana, and Brazil. Later he adds Dre, who should never have been in that crypt.
After Wynn is Raven and, eventually, Gitane. It was funny. I wanted to make Bear Paw Gangrel Justicar, but I had to wait until Don Cruez came out and to get the edge to do it. Wynn only rushed at the end of Cort’s game, when it didn’t matter.
I was never seriously threatened. The Malks were not pleased by the quicks behind them, Felicia got a Desert Eagle because Cort Suddened Bruce’s Special Report. Not that Al was in a good position. Between combat ends and stealth, Rich could pretty much do anything he wanted forward.
On the other hand, he couldn’t do anything to affect me. Nobody could. Bear Paw mastered Presence. I could have bled Rich out with Bear Paw, Daliyah, Don Cruez, and Kallista but thought he wouldn’t be able to lunge Al away and figured giving him another turn would only help me. Bruce dropped Anarch Revolt. I ousted Rich. Al could only survive a bit longer. Cort didn’t do anything to defend himself.
In the endgame, Dre’s Ivory Bow, which for some reason he got from Zebulon, aka a dude who actually has Auspex, did torp one of my guys. I started drawing a ton of masters late in the game. I had a reasonable amount of Earth Meld, Form of Mist, Majesty, and a Flesh of Marble to kill Muddled. What I didn’t have late in the game was bleed mods. I did take some pressure off by Clawing, Amaranthing, Ritual of the Bitter Rose-ing Dancin’ Dana, but Zebulon did this weird thing of bleeding for more than one at stealth. I drop The Parthenon to help clear cards, taking me to 1 pool, Blood Doll 2 back, fail to draw kill – only needed one boost, get ousted by Cloaked bleeds.
My deck was precisely the amusing sort of awesome that I would have built in 1997 (sans the Dark Sovereigns and Ancient Hearts cards since my group back then didn’t allow them). I didn’t play Shackles of Enkidu or Blood Tears of Kephran. I did run out of bleed, not having any in the top 10 of my library when I fell. But, the rampant combat defense was metagame win.
Ian (Tremere) -> Cort (Dom/Obf weenies) -> Bruce (Anson/Ozmo master) -> Rich (!Trem) -> Al (Gangrel in torpor)
Cort pounded his father. If he would have played it right, he would have gotten him, too. This with Samson who learned Obfuscate, bought a Camera Phone, Watenda, Zoe, and Aleph. Yes, this was a horrible, horrible crypt for what his deck does.
Rich brought out Paul Cordwood. He eventually got Ash Harrison, Sengir Dagger, and did basically nothing in the game. Al got out Badger, Camille, Raven (yup, this is legal), and Roman.
I was never seriously threatened. I could have been hammered by Force of Will, but in a 4CL environment, that wasn’t terribly likely. What hurt Al was not drawing permableed earlier. Also, that I twice ‘schrecked him when he played Form of Mist.
I brought out Magdelena Schaefer, who got the Ivory Bow on turn three. Muaziz popped. Chantry, which I never used. Astrid and, later, Sarah Cobbler. I couldn’t do much to Cort as he had a Hunting Ground to defeat my Cryptic Mission (I drew only one), I had no rush, and I was even worried about bleeding. Bruce KRCed him for 6 to put him in ousting range. Cort sort of lunged, starting the turn with Dramatic Upheaval (legal!!), which got shot down by the table, using up the action which would have ousted his father. Bruce brought out Anson, Minion Tapped him when Cort’s lunge failed. Bruce had a new lease on life and ousted Rich with 7 bleed after Rich had to block a 5 bleed bounced from Cort on a following turn.
When his second lunge failed, I took him out with Threats and Bonding. I wasn’t terribly worried about combat, in part due to a Flak Jacket on Muaziz and a Leather Jacket on Magdelena, though I kept combat heavy hands just in case I could Blood Fury or Walk of Flame someone. I did try Blood Fury on Bruce’s Hadrian Garrick, but it missed. I caught Anson with some of my negligible intercept and put him in torpor.
Al’s deck finally started doing what it was supposed to with a Force of Will bleed and a KRC, but it was too little, too late. With an Anarch Revolt on the table and my prey at one pool, I decided to just bleed him out and bled Al out in the same turn as he was at two pool.
I’m not as interested in the second deck. It has some interesting interactions, but it’s so boringly old school. It was amusing that three of the decks in the game ran Rotschreck.
Well, all in all, quite enjoyable V:TES so far in the new year. I think I’ll be making more decks like the Pro-sense deck.